(14) Virginia (21-5) at Virginia Tech (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 18, 9 p.m. (ET)
ACTS & STATS: Site: Cassell Coliseum (9,847) -- Blacksburg, Virginia. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: UVA 12-2, VA Tech 8-7. Away Record: UVA 6-3, VA Tech 1-5. Neutral Record: UVA 3-0, VA Tech 0-3. Conference Record: UVA 12-1, VA Tech 2-10. Series Record: Virginia leads, 85-53.
GAME NOTES: A long-time rivalry will be renewed on Tuesday night, as the 14th- ranked Virginia Cavaliers match up with the Virginia Tech Hokies in an Atlantic Coast Conference clash at Cassell Coliseum.
While they may have entered the season under the radar, the Cavaliers are firmly in the spotlight now. Virginia is an impressive 21-5 overall, with the second-best mark in the ACC to boot (12-1). The Cavs have won nine straight overall, including a 63-58 triumph on the road over a tough Clemson squad this past Saturday. They will kick off a three-game homestand next against Notre Dame.
Virginia Tech is on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to its counterpart tonight, sitting in last place in the ACC (2-10), with just a 9-15 mark overall. However, the Hokies had lost 10 straight games prior to Saturday's 52-45 home win over defending ACC champ Miami-Florida. Up next, the Hokies will finish this three-game homestand against NC State.
On the football field, Virginia Tech dominates this rivalry, but the tables are turned on the hardwood. The Cavaliers own an 85-53 series advantage, with four straight wins over the Hokies, including a 65-45 victory on Jan. 25.
Joe Harris managed 16 points as Virginia fended off Clemson for its win on Saturday. The Cavs connected on 47.9 percent from the floor, while owning a 33-20 advantage on the boards. They also outscored the Tigers, 26-16, in the paint.
Virginia does not score as well as some of the nation's elite teams, but there aren't any that defend as well as the Cavaliers. They are allowing a national- best 55.5 ppg, while ranking 10th in the country in opponent field goal percentage (.382). At the offensive end, they are only putting in 66.1 ppg, but part of that is due to the grinding pace at which they play, as they average only 60.9 possessions per 40 minutes, among the 10 lowest marks in the nation. Heading up the effort is Malcolm Brogdon (12.3 ppg) and Harris (11.8 ppg), and they are the only double-digit scorers on the roster.
C.J. Barksdale and Devin Wilson each scored 12 points to help Virginia Tech edge out Miami. The Hokies may have only shot 37 percent from the field, but they held the Hurricanes to 25.9 percent and only 15 total field goals. A minor advantage from the free-throw line (12-8) also proved crucial.
Virginia Tech is also scoring poorly this season, netting just 65.8 ppg on 41 percent shooting, each ranking among the bottom-two marks in the ACC. The Hokies can defend well, although not nearly as effectively as the Cavs. They allow only 68.3 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting. Jarell Eddie (13.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg) will be the top offensive option on the floor for either side. However, Eddie isn't an overly efficient scorer, netting just 36.3 percent of his field goal tries. Ben Emelogu (10.9 ppg) is also below 40 percent shooting, and the cause has not been helped by the loss of Adam Smith (11 ppg).
The only team standing between Virginia and the top spot in the ACC is No.1 Syracuse. The Cavaliers will need to remain focused on Tuesday if they hope to keep pace, a task they are more than capable of accomplishing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 68, Virginia Tech 57
02/18 10:33:55 ET